Crossing Ancient and Modern Borders: Territoriality in the Three Rivers Region

Author(s): Brett Houk; Thomas Garrison

Year: 2015


The lowland jungle environment of the Maya area presents numerous challenges to archaeologists in the study of ancient territoriality. Incomplete settlement survey data and fragmentary textual records hinder attempts to formulate comprehensive hypotheses comparable to those put forth for complex societies in other areas of the world. The Three Rivers Region of northeast Guatemala and northwest Belize is one area where some advancements may be made. Large portions of the region have been surveyed over the last 30 years on both side of the modern national border and there is a firm understanding of the environmental history of the region, which played a crucial part in territorial dynamics through times. This paper presents case studies from the San Bartolo-Xultun territory in Guatemala and the Chan Chich territory in Belize to illustrate how a long record of regionally based research has allowed for some progress in our understanding of ancient political boundaries at local levels and argues that new technologies will only improve upon this knowledge moving forward.

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Cite this Record

Crossing Ancient and Modern Borders: Territoriality in the Three Rivers Region. Thomas Garrison, Brett Houk. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395251)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;